22 November 2019

Red Bull

It gives you Wiiings, according to the adverts. So, in honor of that, I give you today's Krugman. Somehow I've managed to miss this wonderful term some years: wing-nut welfare. If only I could have coined it.
[T]he modern U.S. right contains many institutions — Fox News and other media, right-wing think tanks, and others — that offer sinecures to former officials. However, this "wing-nut welfare" — which has no counterpart on the left — is available only to those who continue to toe the line.

One might also observe that red bull is synonymous with Russian Propaganda, which The Manchurian President and his minions have been eager to spread. Dr. Hill made both points clear.

21 November 2019

Thought For The Day - 21 November 2019

Remember the idee fixe of these endeavors? Let's get back to centralized storage, centrally managed. Kind of like the days of *nix and VT-220s over RS-232. The 'terminal' just eats keystrokes and spits input blocks. What could be simpler?

Well, the kiddies all demand lots of code on the client, and so on. But, in due time, innterTubes bandwidth will be such that it no longer makes any sense to off-load data integrity to the client. It never did, but that's another story.

Today's story is that NAND density is getting really out of hand. One begins to wonder how soon the X86 cpu's active address lines will be exceeded by available storage and memory. When NVME is the standard, then we can all go back to AS-400 (originally the S38, now just called i) single level store, supporting RDBMS as integrated storage. Less and less work for the client (and, of course, client coders) to do.

14 November 2019

The Asymptote of Progress - part the sixteenth

Brrrr!! Baby it's cold outside.

Yet another bit of reporting on the effects of hitting the wall of Progress. You read about it here first; just not the reporting.
Recently regulators have become especially concerned that insurers have been loading up on a kind of investment known as collateralized debt obligations, or C.L.O.s for short. C.L.O.s are mortgages and other loans that have been packaged into securities. They bear ominous similarities to the securities that helped cause the 2008 financial crisis.

This is what happens, as you learned in your Econ 101 class (you did take that class, right?), that The Law of Supply and Demand really does exist, even if/when the levers of Mr. Market are obscured. The CxO class still hasn't found profitable ways to deploy fiduciary capital into physical capital. So they go chasing Treasuries or, in this reporting, they're so desperate to cover unfunded insurance liabilities (which Gummint Bonds used to take care of) that they load up on any kind of trash that 'promises' them the needed moolah. Good luck with that. There was a recent NYT piece (and elsewhere if you'd rather) on the China problem: way too much real estate development, both residential and commercial. Reporting on the problem goes back years. The current situation is the cancer recurring. Real estate is a non-producing asset; the only way to make money from it (both commercial and residential, in fact) is if the tenants/owners have sufficient excess cashflow to float the notes. And for that to happen residents have to have better paying employment today than they did before buying, and businesses have to have growth driving their cashflow. Unlike a spiffy new kind of machine which is X% more productive, and fills large unmet demand for the widgets it makes. That's how capital really makes money, rather than just taking it from sources that actually make money.

TIAA has been hawking its annuities in TeeVee adverts recently, promising 'guaranteed' income for life. Just buy our annuity!! Just one bad court case from vanishing. Poof, there goes your 'guaranteed income'. As with any private sector annuity.

13 November 2019

Like A Bureaucrat

Have you ever heard, or said, something like, 'those bureaucrats are lazy and stupid and wouldn't last a day in the private sector'? Turns out that it is scientists at CDC who have figured out how vaping damages the lungs. Not those vaunted drug company folks. And that most new drugs exist based on research by, or paid for by, government.

Turns out Intel is just as lazy and stupid as your average bureaucrat.
The researchers said Intel had chosen an ineffective way to address its chip vulnerabilities. Rather than fix the core issue, which would possibly require redesigning the processor, it has patched each variant as it is discovered.

"There are tons of vulnerabilities still left, we are sure," Mr. Bos said. "And they don't intend to do proper security engineering until their reputation is at stake."

So, I guess Boeing isn't the only cabal of private sector bureaucrats.

11 November 2019

Boeing Boeing - part the tenth

Did you see the early reports about the 10? They stretched the tube once again, so much so that the dang thing couldn't takeoff! Those stubby legs meant that if the plane tried to rotate in the standard way, it would bang the tailcone on the tarmac. Every time!! "Nice plane you've got there. Too bad if something bad happened to it?"

So the early report I saw told how the Boeing engineers came up with this neato solution to the problem: a telescopic strut for the wheel truck. Aha! thinks I. Here's the solution to the Worst Case Scenario. Mostly. This strut adds 9.5 inches of distance off the tarmac, so they don't have to redesign the entire wing (they've done so, more or less, a few times before). All they need is a lowered pylon for the LEAP, just enough that the nacelle gets below the top of the wing, and so the thrust vector off the bottom. No more need for MCAS with an aerodynamic fix for the problem.

But... Then I saw an animation of how this neato new strut works. From the first report I saw, it sounded like the strut collapses when stowing the gear into the tube, but is locked extended otherwise. Nope. The strut extends during rotation only, allowing the tailcone to clear the tarmac. It wasn't clear whether the strut extends in a positive fashion, i.e. pushes up on the tube or simply releases allowing the tube to 'float' above the trucks during takeoff. Either way, dang.

So MCAS is still needed to keep the plane flying. Sort of.

05 November 2019

Chubby Checker

Everybody, twist
-- Chubby Checker/1960

By no means the first version about twisting, that's the one I grew up with. Barely. A piece in today's NYT caused me to let my fingers do the walking through the Yellow Googles. Wound up, not surprisingly, at the wiki.

Regular reader might recall my adage that exponential progress hit a wall when we humans finally filled up the periodic table and understood the Bohr Atom. From the first, I didn't take that notion at face value, because the covalent bond of organic chemistry means there's, to all intents and purposes, an infinite number of molecules in the organic side of chemistry.

Graphene, magic angle division, demonstrates that C itself is highly fungible.